Woodcutter


Daniel McAllyster doesn't find the tree. No, the tree finds him. After arguing with Bess over the state of the cabin and the meals she prepares for the little ones, he stumbles out the door and heads into the woods for some clarity.

The tree stretches across the creek, topmost branches reaching east. In the soft silences of the woods, it came crashing down, taking with it smaller trees as its arm-like limbs grasped for purchase. But once a tree has fallen, it has fallen. No amount of helping hands will be able to right it.

Daniel studies the roots, now angry and exposed among the great mass of fresh dirt and rock. For a moment, he mourns.


He returns home and grabs a chain; throws it into the bed of his pickup. He opens the door. Bess stands at the sink, Harry on her hip. “Found me an oak,” he says. “I'll be a while.”

She doesn't turn around.

It takes him two hours to clean up the tree and haul it home. Tanya, likely hearing the chain saw buzzing, has stopped by and is sitting on the porch, drinking a cup of coffee. She stands. “That's a pretty piece of wood.”

Daniel nods, studying the wood in anticipation. “I'm thinking a dining room table. Caryn always wanted one.”

“Caryn is dead,” Tanya says. “And Bess is her own person. She can't stay here and care for her siblings forever.”

“Roots are important.”

“You can't just shape her into what you need her to be.”

Daniel looks up at the window, sees his daughter rocking the little one to sleep. He's seen the college brochures: Boston, New York, Maine.

“I just don't want her to fail.”

“You're afraid of losing her.”

“She's got nobody.”

“Neither do you. And neither do I.” Tanya smiles and presses a hand to his forearm. “Let me help you unhitch this tree,” she says, setting her mug on the porch.


This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was anticipation.


Labels: ,

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Woodcutter

Monday, December 10, 2012

Woodcutter


Daniel McAllyster doesn't find the tree. No, the tree finds him. After arguing with Bess over the state of the cabin and the meals she prepares for the little ones, he stumbles out the door and heads into the woods for some clarity.

The tree stretches across the creek, topmost branches reaching east. In the soft silences of the woods, it came crashing down, taking with it smaller trees as its arm-like limbs grasped for purchase. But once a tree has fallen, it has fallen. No amount of helping hands will be able to right it.

Daniel studies the roots, now angry and exposed among the great mass of fresh dirt and rock. For a moment, he mourns.


He returns home and grabs a chain; throws it into the bed of his pickup. He opens the door. Bess stands at the sink, Harry on her hip. “Found me an oak,” he says. “I'll be a while.”

She doesn't turn around.

It takes him two hours to clean up the tree and haul it home. Tanya, likely hearing the chain saw buzzing, has stopped by and is sitting on the porch, drinking a cup of coffee. She stands. “That's a pretty piece of wood.”

Daniel nods, studying the wood in anticipation. “I'm thinking a dining room table. Caryn always wanted one.”

“Caryn is dead,” Tanya says. “And Bess is her own person. She can't stay here and care for her siblings forever.”

“Roots are important.”

“You can't just shape her into what you need her to be.”

Daniel looks up at the window, sees his daughter rocking the little one to sleep. He's seen the college brochures: Boston, New York, Maine.

“I just don't want her to fail.”

“You're afraid of losing her.”

“She's got nobody.”

“Neither do you. And neither do I.” Tanya smiles and presses a hand to his forearm. “Let me help you unhitch this tree,” she says, setting her mug on the porch.


This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was anticipation.


Labels: ,

25 Comments:

At December 10, 2012 at 12:15 PM , Blogger Draug said...

Oh I love this! The description of the tree falling was great, as was the analogies between the daughter and the tree. Wonderful little piece!

 
At December 10, 2012 at 1:01 PM , OpenID scriptorwrites said...

This is beautiful. Wonderfully written. Lovely story.

 
At December 10, 2012 at 1:12 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Draug. Looking forward to reading yours. And congrats on the win this week.

 
At December 10, 2012 at 2:51 PM , Blogger Tara R. said...

I love all the layers in your stories. Wonderful as always.

 
At December 10, 2012 at 8:21 PM , OpenID jannatwrites said...

Tara said what I thought - I love the layers in your stories, and this one is beautifully written.

 
At December 11, 2012 at 7:36 AM , Blogger Bo said...

I really enjoyed this post!

 
At December 11, 2012 at 9:22 AM , Blogger Ruby Manchanda said...

I loved every single bit of this story.

 
At December 11, 2012 at 12:53 PM , Anonymous Annabelle said...

I love the ongoing metaphor of the tree here; done with just enough restraint that you can believe actual people would have said it all. His taking a moment to mourn is particularly touching.

 
At December 11, 2012 at 3:09 PM , Blogger Stephanie B. @B4Steph said...

For a moment he mourns.. and by the end we know he doesn't only mourn the falling of the tree. Kelly, your writing inspires me every time I come here.

 
At December 11, 2012 at 3:32 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Scriptor! I appreciate your comments.

 
At December 11, 2012 at 3:33 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Tara! I wasn't sure if it was overdone.

 
At December 11, 2012 at 3:33 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks so much, Janna!

 
At December 11, 2012 at 3:33 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks. Enjoyed yours from last week and looking forward to this week's.

 
At December 11, 2012 at 3:34 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Ruby! Looking forward to reading yours tonight.

 
At December 11, 2012 at 3:34 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thank you, Annabelle. I'm glad you liked that moment of mourning.

 
At December 11, 2012 at 3:35 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks so much, Stephanie! Looking forward to reading your piece this week!

 
At December 12, 2012 at 3:20 AM , OpenID habibadanyalbarry said...

Probably he thought of his daughter right from the start, when he mourned the tree's fall! Very touching story!

 
At December 12, 2012 at 3:44 AM , Blogger kymm said...

Love how you used and came back to the tree. I did get hung up on verb tenses though, when the tree fell/falls, esp. because it is a strong metaphor/foreshadowing (taking the saplings with it).

 
At December 12, 2012 at 3:48 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Kymm - Yeah the tenses are weird there. I'm showing him coming across the tree after it has fallen so have to keep that bit in the past. Maybe the entire thing would work better in all past tense?

 
At December 12, 2012 at 12:22 PM , Blogger SilverGardenia said...

Love the metaphor you've built here. Nice write.

 
At December 12, 2012 at 1:55 PM , Blogger jen revved said...

Wonderful! Beautifully written....xj

 
At December 12, 2012 at 5:48 PM , Anonymous Brian said...

Great subtle parallels between the tree and the daughter - and I really like that line "once a tree has fallen, it has fallen." Nice!

 
At December 13, 2012 at 4:58 AM , Blogger kymm said...

Quick fix? had come crashing down.

(I like the present tense.)

Also, consider Once a tree falls, it is fallen.

now please forgive ms. buttinski.

 
At December 13, 2012 at 5:01 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Ms. Buttinski
Butt in all you want. I like having the opportunity to change and grow. I like your suggestions, especially had come crashing down, esp if I add a reference to a storm or something (darn those 333 words). Going to take a look this afternoon once I finish some other edits.
Thanks!

 
At December 15, 2012 at 6:21 AM , Blogger j umbaugh said...

When I think how difficult it is to write this well, I'm glad I'm a reader not a writer... You reward your readers well.

 

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